Saturday, February 28, 2009

Night

I read Elie Wiesel's Night in one sitting yesterday evening. Although I did take one break because I had to cry. Night is the author's memoir of his childhood in Auschwitz and other camps. I'm not going to say much about the plot because I think that description says it all really. I'm lucky I could read it from the comfort of my own living room, after a nice dinner and while sipping some good red wine. Very lucky indeed.

One of the things that struck me is that even in times of war human beings don't really entertain then thought that something bad could happen to them. The Jews in the village where the author lived had heard rumors about the atrocities going on in the camps and about persecution everywhere. They even had actual evidence because of one their own had been taken away and had escaped and come back to warn everyone. And yet they still believed that the war would end just in time or that the Germans would never get that far or that they would somehow be more merciful in their village. Amazing thing, the human mind.

It also struck me that in the camps, in the end nothing mattered but survival. Watching others die didn't always have the effect that we would think it would. It's incredible what kinds of circumstances we can get used to, what becomes normal. I hope that I would be as strong in such situations, even though I find that hard to believe.

If books like this one are written, they deserve to be read. Night is the first in a trilogy - has anyone read the other two books, Dawn and Day?

Challenges: A-Z Challenge, 999 Challenge, Bang Bang Book Challenge, In Their Shoes, Jewish Literature Challenge, Lost in Translation, War Through the Generations, What's in a Name?

5 comments:

Nymeth said...

I haven't read the other two, but Night blew me away. And it made me feel very blessed too.

joanna said...

I'm even amazed that he had the strength in him to write it.

Lezlie said...

I *loved* this book. I read Dawn a few weeks ago:

http://booksnbordercollies.blogspot.com/2009/01/dawn.html

Definitely read it. I have Day sitting here and I'm hoping to squeeze it in during March.

Lezlie

joanna said...

Thanks for the link Lezlie, I'm off to check it out now!

Anna said...

Sorry it took me so long to get this posted on the challenge blog. You can find it here.

I must re-read this book. I don't remember much of it since I read it in high school. I'd like to read it again through adult eyes.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric